The main house at the Lodge RSPB reserve, UK headquaters of the RSPB, Sandy, Bedfordshire

RSPB Council

RSPB Council is the governing body of the RSPB. It is responsible for ensuring the Society conducts its affairs in accordance with its Constitution and within the law.

The RSPB Council and Management Board

RSPB Council

There are a maximum of 18 council members (trustees) including the chairman, treasurer and three country committee chairmen for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are elected by the membership at the AGM and serve for five years.

The council and its main sub-committees operate to a schedule of quarterly meetings.

Management Board

The RSPB is governed by a council of volunteers elected for their expertise relevant to running a wildlife conservation charity. An elected council and committees for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales oversee our work.

The council is responsible for the conduct of the RSPB’s affairs and for ensuring that the RSPB operates in accordance with its constitution and the law.

As the RSPB is a charity, the council is also answerable to the charity regulators in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, for ensuring charitable funds are used wisely.

Day-to-day management of the RSPB is delegated to a management board headed by a chief executive who reports to the chairman of the council. Divisional directors of global conservation, finance, people, fundraising and communications, and UK operations form our management board.

Council members

Kevin Cox (Chairman)

  • Began his career as a magazine editor and publisher and became joint Managing Director of Future Publishing before going on to launch Origin Publishing, a successful specialist magazine publishing company. Following the sale of the company to BBC Worldwide, he became Origin's non-executive Chairman and subsequently attended the board of Immediate Media (formerly BBC Magazines), publisher of all the BBC-branded titles, including BBC Wildlife. 
  • Kevin has a lifelong interest in wildlife, especially birds, that has led to his involvement in nature conservation and land management. He served on RSPB Council from 2011-2016 and has been a Council member and trustee of World Land Trust, for the past 12 years, as well as Chair of its trading company. He helped Birdlife Bolivia set up a protected area for the critically-endangered Blue-throated Macaw and he remains a Friend of the Barba Azul Reserve.
  • Since 2011, he has served on the council of Devon Birds, most recently as Chair. 
  • Kevin lives on Dartmoor where he takes a keen interest in the conservation of the moor, especially for upland and woodland birds.

Mr Graeme Wallace (Honorary Treasurer)

  • Accountant, economist, and former Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • Extensive financial management experience gained from many years working in both the private and public sectors.
  • Assists with capercaillie conservation in Scotland and as a wildlife guide at a charitable conservation based eco-lodge in Amazonian Brazil.
  • Chairs RSPB Finance and Audit Committee.

Mr David Baldock (Chairman, Conservation Committee)

  • David has worked in environmental policy all his life and is Executive Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy.

Mr Nick Cross (Chairman, Communications Committee)

  • Nick runs a strategic brand and marketing consulting practice in London and is an active director of a farming business in Suffolk.

Mr Clive Mellon (Chairman, Committee for Northern Ireland)

  • Director of an environmental consultancy, Clive originally graduated in law and has previously worked in the voluntary environment sector for Ulster Wildlife, National Trust and RSPB Northern Ireland.

Professor Colin Galbraith (Chairman, Committee for Scotland)

  • Former Director of Policy and Advice at Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Colin now runs an environmental consultancy, working in Scotland and globally.
  • He has an Honorary Professorship in Conservation Science at the University of Stirling.

Sir Adrian Webb (Chairman, Committee for Wales)

  • Started a lengthy academic career as a lecturer at London School of Economics, then as a Professor at Loughborough, and moved into senior management of two large universities, Loughborough and Glamorgan, before retiring in 2005.
  • Held a variety of roles in UK local and central government including the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Services, the Lord Chancellor's Department, and HM Treasury.  
  • In 2008, Adrian was appointed as the first Chair of the Welsh Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC), was also appointed Chair to the Board of Trustees of Tenovus, and became a member of the Board of the Institute for Welsh Affairs (IWA).
  • Non-executive member of the civil service Board of the Welsh Government since 2012 and is currently Chair of the BIG Lottery Cymru.
  • He has a long-standing interest in painting birds and wildlife tourism.

Professor Andrew Balmford, FRS

  • Professor of Conservation Science in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.
  • Andrew helped to set up the Cambridge Conservation Forum, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and the annual Student Conference on Conservation Science.

Helen Browning, OBE

  • Helen runs a tenanted 1,350 acre organic livestock and arable farm in Wiltshire, which supplies branded pork products to multiple retailers, independent outlets and for export. She runs the village pub too!
  • She is Chief Executive of the Soil Association and Chair of the Food Ethics Council and has been a member of several influential commissions around agriculture and food, including the Curry Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, the Meat and Livestock Commission and was Chair of the England Implementation Group for the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.
  • She was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to organic farming.

Mr John Bullock 

  • John has headed multi-national businesses and been a board member in several countries. Originally trained as a research scientist, he is impressed with RSPB's commitment to evidence-based advocacy/campaigning.
  • He has a lifelong passion and appreciation of all wildlife and the countryside.

Mr David Cramp 

  • Qualified accountant with management experience of the water industry. Group Leader and former Treasurer of the RSPB Gloucestershire Local Group, active supporter of ornithological and natural history societies.

Professor Rosie Hails 

  • Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and chair of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE).
  • Rosie is a vice president and member of council for the British Ecological Society (BES) and co-founded the Natural Capital Initiative in collaboration with the BES and The Royal Society of Biology.
  • She was a member of the expert panel and an author for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and a member of the first Natural Capital Committee.
  • In 2015 Rosie became a member of the NERC Science Board which is the key source of independent advice to Council on matters concerning NERC’s environmental science portfolio and strategy.
  • She was awarded an MBE for services to environmental research in June 2000.

Mr Stephen Moss

  • One of Britain’s leading wildlife writers, broadcasters and natural history television producers, specialising in British birds and wildlife. Stephen was one of the founding producers of the BAFTA-award-winning Springwatch, among many other TV credits.
  • He has written many books, including ‘Wild Hares and Hummingbirds’, and also writes the Guardian’s regular monthly ‘Birdwatch’ column.
  • An RSPB (and YOC) member since his childhood in London, he now lives with his family on the Somerset Levels.

Mr Neal Ransome 

  • Neal qualified as a chartered accountant and corporate financier with PricewaterhouseCoopers. With a keen interest in birds and environmental conservation, he has volunteered for both the RSPB and London Wildlife Trust, and is a member of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Surrey Bird Club.

Ms Jennifer Ullman

  • Jennifer was previously Chief Parks Officer for Wandsworth Borough Council, responsible for more than 40 public spaces with c.22 million visitors a year.
  • She has a strong interest in charity governance and is a trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • She is a member of the RSPB’s Guildford Local Group.

Viscount Chris Mills

  • Worked for the Salmon Research Trust of Ireland, the National Rivers Authority before moving to the Environment Agency and was influential in shaping the Environment Bill, which created and established the role and powers of the Environment Agency. In 2003 became Head of Wildlife, Recreation and Marine within the Environment Agency, where he set up the EAs first Marine Policy Unit which produced the EAs first Marine Strategy and State of the Marine Environment Report.
  • Chris became Director of Environment Agency Wales in 2006, where he helped to manage the transition from the Environment Agency Wales' to Natural Resources Wales (NRW). In 2014, he was appointed Director of Resource Efficiency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency where he led the regulation of major industry, waste and water in Northern Ireland.
  • Currently Angling Trust Director; Council Member for the BTO and Institute of Fisheries Management; Chair of an Independent Fisheries Peer Review Group for Tidal Lagoon Power; and a member of the RSPB Country Advisory Committee for Wales.

Martin Saunders

  • Solicitor who specialises in commercial law. In 1989 he joined Clifford Chance, the international law firm, as a trainee solicitor. He qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and was a partner in the firm from 2001 until 2016. During his career he advised businesses, public authorities and individuals on commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and risks relating to white collar crime. 
  • Martin has always been interested in wildlife and conservation. He first joined the RSPB as a teenager and has continued to support the Society throughout his adult life. Whilst at Clifford Chance, he set up and led a pro bono relationship through which his firm provided free legal advice to the RSPB. In that capacity he worked on a range of legal and reputational issues covering the Society's work in the UK and overseas and also supported its fundraising activities.
  • Martin now divides his time between London and the wildlife-rich High Weald AONB in East Sussex. Over the last year he has volunteered with conservation work parties on the RSPB's reserves at Fore Wood and Tudeley Woods and has completed a training course in bird survey techniques.


Council Nominees 2018

Meet our nominated new Council members.

Matt Taylor: Leads the engagement with portfolio companies in Generation Investment's Growth Equity group.

Kerry ten Kate: The Director of the Biodiversity Initiative at conservation charity Forest Trends, advising governments and companies on law, policy and strategy for ensuring conservation in the context of development.

Robert Cubbage: His career to date was as a Partner in Ernst & Young (EY), initially in Audit, then latterly as a client advisor to large global banking organisations.

For more information on our Council Nominees download the pdf.